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Seri Menanti

Ben van Wijnen

Seri Menanti Palace

Seri Menanti is a town, a mukim and a state assembly constituency in the Kuala Pilah District, in central Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. It is the royal town of the state of Negeri Sembilan and houses the seat of the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, the ruler of the state of Negeri Sembilan. The royal palace is known as "Istana Besar". Luak Tanah Mengandung is part of Seri Menanti. Seri Menanti is not to be confused with Kampong Seri Menanti, Muar, Johor.
The Minangkabaus moved during the 14th century to the wider area of Negeri Sembilan. Around the 15th century they moved further and explored the Seri Menanti area. Among the explorers was Datuk Puteh. According to legend, they found three stalks of fresh green paddy and thus Datuk Puteh christened the area Padi Menanti (literally awaiting paddy). Over time the name changed to Seri Menanti. It is believed that the word "seri" means the Goddess of rice in the ancient Javanese tradition (in Javanese: Sri).

Raja Melewar arrived in Negeri Sembilan in 1773. He later moved his palace to Seri Menanti which remains the royal town of Negeri Sembilan.
The official name of the Palace is "Istana Besar Seri Menanti". The palace complex consists of the Main Palace, the Throne Room (Balairong Seri), and the Royal Banquet Hall. The Istana Besar Seri Menanti was completed in 1932.

The Throne

The old wooden palace known as Istana Lama is made in part of Chengal wood and iron wood and held together using only wooden pegs. The palace took six years to build and was completed in 1908. The design has subtle hints of Minangkabau architecture, has five levels rising to a height of sixty seven feet or approximately twenty meters high and has ninety nine columns to support the main structure. The Istana Lama was a replacement for Istana Pulih, which was burned down by British soldiers. The drawings and plans for Istana Lama was detailed by Mr. Woodford and based on the designs provided by two local craftsmen, Kahar and Taib. This palace was used until 1932 after which the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar moved to Istana Besar. The Istana Lama has been designated as a national heritage site and was converted into a Royal Museum in 1992 and is currently closed to the public to facilitate repairs and upgrading works, which is expected to be completed in 2020.

Other landmarks include the Seri Menanti Royal Mausoleum, the Tuanku Munawir Royal Mosque (Masjid DiRaja Tuanku Munawir), the Seri Menanti Resort, and the eighteen hole Royal Seri Menanti Golf and Country Club which also has two squash courts.

The Gate


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